Debra wondered...

> Also I was wondering about TB - before antibiotics did people recover
> spontaneously, or did the people thought to be threatened who didn't
> actually die not really have consumption in the first place.

Yes, I believe some people did recover, due simply to their own body's being
able to fight the disease off.  I've read of several cases of women who
lived in Dublin's tenements in the first half of the 20th century (where TB
was endemic) later having chest x-rays and being asked "when did you have
TB?".  They hadn't even known they'd contracted and recovered from the
disease, probably because they were too busy nursing family members at the

Of course, I don't think having the disease without noticing was a common
thing, but people *did* recover from it even before medication (as they
recovered from assorted other diseases).

> I was reading
> recently  about consumption in the 18th C, that it was assumed to be a
> congenital tendency, rather than contagious, so presumably no steps were
> taken to quarantine the afflicted.

No, as far as I've been able to tell, there was little or no knowledge that
TB was infectious, and little or no effort made to quarantine sufferers.
(It's probably a minor miracle that Joyce and Gillian Linton didn't contract
the disease from their mother, in "The Chalet School and the Lintons".)


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